Open Rugby is the Legacy: Ravens 42 – UBC 24 Match Report
by Peter MacDonald
The fifty year friendship and rivalry between these two fraternal clubs resumed at Jericho on a pleasant October day before a good crowd. To add to the competition members of both clubs recently got together and purchased a cup, “The Legacy Cup” to be competed for between the Premier sides annually on a two-game total points basis. Hopefully the two clubs can meet again in the playoffs where UBC will look to make up the now 18 point deficit.
Five first half tries, three to the Ravens and two to UBC, were notched and barely a hand was laid on the try scorers. First Ravens’ flanker Matt Chan picked up the ball at an attacking ruck and headed straight north for the try as the UBC defence was spread wide and flat, then Ravens #10 Aaron McLelland and UBC fullback Takoda McMullin exchanged tries scoring two each. McMullin stormed in up the right side finding plenty of space both times. McLelland, operating in tighter quarters, did his thing sidestepping twice then popping through to flash ahead the first time and showing and going on the second one, 23-12 at the half.
UBC, as expected, came on in the next 20 minutes bringing the score to 23-17 through another Takoda McMullin try where, after sustained UBC pressure, he fended off the last tackler and dove in at 47 minutes. But at 60 minutes the tide turned in the Ravens’ favour when, on receiving a goal line dropout, Andrew Coe swung the ball from the left sideline to McLelland lying centrally. McLelland took off flying through a defence not yet positioned and slickly fed Billy Wickham on his outside right for a dagger try, 30-17.
The Ravens were firmly in control till the final whistle as their bench lifted the side and saw out the game. McLelland delivered one more try in the half, his third, as did McMullin , his fourth. McLelland’s calling card is controlled running and outright speed, McMullin’s is power and speed. McLelland makes people miss, McMullin can do that and can also shake off any tackles that are not sure. #8 Grant Crowell powered in at 78 minutes to finish the scoring for the Ravens capping off a very strong game by him.
UBC has played a lot of rugby recently coming off their trip to France. Fly half James Biss, a product of the Saracens Academy and Canada U20 who had an excellent game distributing the ball, said he played over 300 minutes of rugby in the short time spent at the world university tournament in France. Fatigue may have been an issue but had the Ravens not desperately held UBC out at their line in the first half on two occasions the score might have been much different.
The Ravens had notable efforts from versatile flanker Matt Chan who popped up everywhere cleaning up loose ball, switching direction on attack and getting to the breakdowns, Harjun Gill, Cole Keffer and Jesse Mackail in defence and Frank Carson, Joe Locke and Crowell in the forwards. The Japanese contingent were vital as well with prop Yo Hasegawa, winger Tsugunosuke Hirai and impact forward Riku Conrad all having good games.
Unfortunately, flanker David O’Donoghue went off with what may be a serious leg injury joining Jacob Ikeda on the sidelines as Ikeda broke his foot last week. Missing two former Premier captains in the back row will hurt. Best wishes to them both. Also missing may be Andrew Coe who received a straight red card for dissent late in the game.
Next week it is James Bay at Jericho.